Crockpot Night - Vegetable Curry

Monday, January 11, 2010

Last night was crockpot night and we had a delicious, meatless recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. Some folks aren't crazy about curry, but I love the blend of spices that are in this recipe. One of my goals is to have at least one, if not more, meatless meals each week for dinner. This recipe states that it makes 4 servings, but when you eat it over rice you may get more out of it. With one cup of cooked rice, I imagine we'll have 6 or so servings each time we make this. Oh, and I bet this freezes well too!

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Curry

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 7 to 9 hours (low) or 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours (high)
Stand: 5 minutes
Slow-Cooker Vegetable Curry


  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 8 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Hot cooked rice


1. In a 3-1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker, combine carrots, potatoes, garbanzo beans, green beans, onion, garlic, tapioca, curry powder, coriander, crushed red pepper, salt, and cinnamon. Pour broth over all.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours.

3. Stir in undrained tomatoes. Cover; let stand for 5 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 407,
  • Total Fat (g) 3,
  • Saturated Fat (g) 0,
  • Cholesterol (mg) 0,
  • Sodium (mg) 1068,
  • Carbohydrate (g) 87,
  • Fiber (g) 12,
  • Protein (g) 13,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Oh My Goodness! Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This is going to be made. Soon, soon, I say! Someone sent me this recipe and it's my three favorite things combined: chocolate, beer, and salted caramel. How could one go wrong?

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel


1 cup flavorful dark beer
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 teaspoons instant espresso powder
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Combine the beer and butter in a large sauce pan and heat to melt.
Remove from heat; whisk in the cocoa, sugar, and espresso.
In a bowl, whisk the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then whisk into the beer mixture.
Sift together the flour and baking soda, and fold into the batter.
Pour into cupcake pan (you can go a little more than ¾ full on these) and bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.

Salted Caramel:

4 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, kosher or sea

Combine the water, sugar, and the corn syrup in a deep saucepan and cook over medium heat—stir with a wooden spoon to combine
Cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium/medium-low heat for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
(Do not stir from this point on, but once it starts to turn brown at the edge you should carefully shake/swirl the pan so that one area of the caramel doesn’t burn.)
Continue to cook until the caramel turns an even amber color then remove from the heat and let stand for about 30 seconds.
Pour the heavy cream into the mixture. Be careful. The mixture will bubble up!
Stir the mixture. Add the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until combined.
Pour into a Pyrex measuring cup.
Stirring occasionally, allow to cool until thick and warm, about 20 minutes.


1.5 sticks butter at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese
7 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup salted caramel

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into the cream cheese mixture and beat to combine.
Add 3/4 cup of the salted caramel and beat to combine.
Sift rest of powder sugar, in 1 cup increments and beating between each, until you arrive at the thickness and sweetness you desire.

To Assemble: Frost the cakes, drizzle leftover caramel on top, and sprinkle a few grains of salt on each one. Top with a chocolate covered espresso bean if you’re feeling fancy. Pair with the rest of your beer! Makes 22-24 cupcakes.

Leftover and Pantry Day

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Today was a pretty easy day cooking-wise. First, I had a burrito kit in the pantry. It contained the flour tortillas and a bean/rice/spice mixture. Then I grabbed some ground chuck with onions that was already cooked from the freezer. We also like to add sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, colby-jack or cheddar cheese, and homemade fat-free refried beans (also in the freezer).

You'll learn over time that I get a lot of recipes from I do have other sources, but this is one of my favorite go-to places. The reviews help a lot when I am looking for a specific (or even random) recipe. I also have some wonderful friends and relatives who are excellent cooks and they are kind enough to share their recipes with me.

My refried bean recipe of choice (from Allrecipes) is one done in the crockpot. It's fat-free and the added spices make it extra delicious! I've been known to pop some in the microwave with some cheddar cheese on top and chow down.

Refried Beans Without the Refry
recipe image
Rated: rating
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 8 Hours
Ready In: 8 Hours 15 Minutes
Servings: 15
"Refried beans are simple to make when cooked in a slow cooker. This recipe will yield flavorful refried beans seasoned with garlic, jalapeno, and cumin."
1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and
2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
9 cups water
1. Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.
2. Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

Beth's Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I found the recipe below on Allrecipes a few days ago and whipped up a batch yesterday. These cookies are chewy and delicious, even the next day! My husband, little girl, and I love how they turned out!

A few things about how this recipe turned out for me:
  1. I got 4 dozen cookies out of this instead of the 3 dozen stated. They were pretty good sized cookies, not wimpy teeny ones. If I had made them any larger, they would have crowded each other on the cookie sheet. I made 1 dozen per batch.
  2. Instead of 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of butter flavored shortening, I used 1 cup of butter flavored shortening. I was out of real butter and did not feel like making a trip to the grocery store so I used what I had on hand. These cookies still turned out great! Next time I bake some, I'll try real butter and see what the difference is.
  3. I baked these cookies for 10 minutes at the start, then ended up baking them for 9.5 minutes. This time worked for me. If I had baked them 12 minutes, they would probably be burned or pretty darn crunchy.
Now, without further ado...

Beth's Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
recipe image
Rated: rating
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 12 Minutes
Ready In: 50 Minutes
Servings: 36
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, butter flavored shortening, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until light and golden. Do not overbake. Let them cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets to cool completely. Store in airtight container. Make sure you get some, because they don't last long!

Makin' Some Turkey Stock Today!

Gobble! Gobble! While making turkey stock is not the most interesting thing in the world, it sure makes foodie stuff that requires stock taste yum, yum, good! Really, if you haven't tried making your own stock from chicken or turkeys or whatever, then you don't know what your missing.

Seriously, it's some good stuff. Use it whenever chicken (or turkey broth) is called for in a recipe. Or when they want you to use those super salty cube thingies. Blech!

Today, I'm going to use a carcass from a 10 lb turkey. I get small turkey's since there's only three of us. Plus, I have about 6-8 whole chickens in my freezer. There's just not enough space for anything larger.

Ok, I'll get back to the stock makin'.

First, break that turkey carcass up a bit so it will fit in a nice sized stock pot. Mine's 12 quarts and the perfect size for this carcass.

Now, you'll chop up 4 carrots, 4 stalks of celery, and 1 onion. Doesn't have to be fancy, just chop it up into pieces and toss it in the pot with the carcass.

Add 20 or so peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of parsley, and a splash of vinegar. Got some mushrooms and/or whole cloves? You can add those as well. I like to toss in two cloves (which I'm out of today) and a couple handfuls of cut up mushrooms (which I'm also out of, dangit!).

Anyway, get that all into the pot and cover it with water. You want to make sure that the carcass is completely covered. Maybe about an inch over the top. I won't be taking a ruler to make sure, though.

Bring it all to a simmer, but not a boil. Turn the burner on high. Once it starts bubbling just a smidgen, turn it down to about medium and let it cook. This delicious hodge podge will simmer for about 4 hours. If there's some water loss, top it off to keep everything overed.

After the 4 hours is up, I place a large colander over another pot. You're going to strain the stock of the solid ingredients. This is the easiest way for me. Once I strain with the colander, I use a sieve to strain the liquid itself. This removes the finer particles.

Now that it's strained, fill the sink with cold water and place the container of stock in it. This allows the stock to cool faster which is better for your refrigerator. Once it's cool enough, place it in the refrigerator. The next day, I'll scrape off any excess fat and pour the cooled stock into quart sized sipper bags to freeze.

To be a bit more orderly, I'll give the list of ingredients. Usually, I make stock by the seat of my pants and just put it all together. Not much measuring on my part!

1 turkey or chicken carcass
4 carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium to large onion, chopped
15-20 peppercorns
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of mushrooms
2 whole cloves
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley

There you have it! Enjoy the deliciousness that is known as homemade stock. You'll thank me someday.

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